The grounds around the current Welwyn preserve (Originally the Estate of Harold and Harriet Pratt), were designed by Martha Brookes Brown Hutcheson and James Leal Greenleaf, along with Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. whose firm design the master plan of the complex.
Harriet Pratt inspired the beautiful garden that today serves as the HMTC’s Children’s Memorial Garden, a living memorial dedicated to the 1.5 million Jewish children who perished in the Holocaust and the more than 3.5 million children in all who died during World War II.
Currently, the Garden is a peaceful place for contemplation, reading, meditation, or sharing a quiet moment. For holocaust survivors and their families, the garden is a beautifully serene space to remember and honor the loved ones that they lost. The center’s educational programs often take children there to the Garden before an inspirational outdoor class. With over 20,000 students visiting the center each year it has become evident that the old, no longer in use, circular fountain could not properly serve the needed capacity. Additionally, the fountain’s solar exposure made its use extremely uncomfortable for the participants.
The main idea is alter the old fountain into a more appropriate outdoor amphitheater and incorporate a shade structure. The structure serves both functional and conceptual program. Functionally the figures will shade; conceptually they will recall the wooden garden structures of the past, in the historical physical sense. However it’s more important what they recall within our subconscious. The essence of wood is ingrained in the soul of the European Jewish diaspora: “landscapes of the mind that have given us a sense of homeland”. The slatted design also coordinates with the museum’s exhibit design which is a subtle but stated recall of the “boxcars” Jews were transported in during the Holocaust.
The Holocaust Museum + Tolerance Center is actively fundraising and hopes to break ground in the Fall of 2017.